I took one of The Boy's shirts that was too small, cut off the sleeves, neck, and hem, and turned it into a tank top that fits.
The key to doing this really quickly is reusing the ribbed trim and hemlines off of another old shirt. For this particular tank, the ribbing on the neckline and the panels at the hem came from one shirt, and the ribbing binding the armholes came from another shirt that was the same color. I love cutting off the ribbed trim and reusing it, because it's already cut to the right size and pressed in half! So I always save those necklines.
Ready for a tutorial? Here goes!
First, cut the neckline out of the shirt, staying just under the seam so that there is no stitching left on the shirt.
|Saving this neckline for a future project!|
Do the same for the sleeves, using the seam line as a guide for cutting straight but staying just to the inside of it.
At this point, you can check your shape using a tank top that fits--mine needed to be narrowed at the shoulders just a smidge, but it would have been fine to leave it.
I lined up the tank top that fit to one side of my new shirt, then folded the front part of the shirt in half, lined up the armholes, and trimmed the excess from the other side. Then I did the same in the back. If you skip this part, your tank will have more of a "muscle tee" look to it.
If the shirt you are working with is too short, cut off the bottom just above the hem, again using the seam line to guide your cutting a straight line.
Figure out how much length you want to add to the bottom of your tee. I did that by lining the new shirt up with the shoulders of the tank top that fits and seeing how much was hanging out the bottom. Because I was cutting up an old tee for the panels I added to the bottom, I lined up the shirt with the existing hemline so I wouldn't have to hem the new pieces. I then cut two pieces about 1/2 inch wider on each side of my tank (so, 1" wider all together than the width of the shirt). If you are cutting these out of a piece of knit fabric, be sure to add an extra inch or so to the length for hemming.
|The blue striped tank was my guide for length.|
Once you have your bottom panels cut, make sure you've got your ribbing--mine was 16" for the neckline and about 11" for the armholes. I ended up cutting the armhole ribbing narrower as well, so it was closer to the width of the neckline ribbing--about 1.5" wide when unfolded, but because I cut them from existing necklines and cuffs they were already folded in half and pressed.
|All of your pieces--shirt body, ribbing for neckline and armholes, and 2 panels for the bottom|
When you reach the center back again, figure out where the two ends of the ribbing come together. Then unfold the two ends of the ribbing and sew them together, wrong-sides together. To do this, you'll need to take out the first pin and stretch the ribbing so that you don't sew it to the shirt at this point.
Then trim off the excess and fold the ribbing back together, and pin the seam in place along the neckline.
Then, using a ball-point needle and a walking foot if you have one, carefully sew the ribbing in place, stretching the ribbing (but NOT the shirt) as you go. I like to use a zig-zag stitch for doing this so that the neckline stays nice and stretchy, but for some reason I forgot to do that and it still has enough stretch to work.
Do the same for the armholes--although since I was cutting it close on the length for my armhole bindings, I just went ahead and sewed them into a loop BEFORE pinning them to the armholes, then stretched them evenly all the way around.
Once they're all attached, flip the seams to the inside. You can press them flat at this point and see how nice they look, or you can wait and do all your ironing at the end.
|All pressed and looking professional. Except for the inside.|
|The panel on top is wrong-side-up, to show what that should look like.|
I forgot to take a picture of this step, but it's pretty obvious--lay your t-shirt out flat, right side out, front side up, and lay your first panel on it, right sides facing and raw edges together (so your panel will be upside down and wrong-side out.) Pin into place, then flip to the backside and do the same with your second panel.
On the side, overlap the two panels a little bit right at the seam. I put the front panel underneath, so it would be on top when I flipped it down. Then sew all the way around--use a zig-zag stitch so that there is stretch to the seam and it's less likely to pull out.
Now's a good time to press everything--I pressed all of my seams towards the body of the shirt. I skipped topstitching to make sure I was leaving plenty of stretch in all of the seams.
Then it's done! One more tank for those sunny days!
I like the look of the flapped hem, but you could totally just sew a band all the way around too.
|Yup, the pants are on backwards. That's what happens when you let the models style themselves. Or when you take the first opportunity to snap a pic because who knows when you'll get another chance?|
And I just can't get a photo shoot with The Boy without some sort of aerial stunt involved, so here you go: these were jumping jacks, I believe.